Well, shoot, if you put it that way. If Rossi didn't have that crash in Germany and the fact that his Michelin tires crapped out on him and his M1 imploding on itself, then Casey Stoner wouldn't be the World Champion either huh?
Let's keep playing the what if's since you like doing that... What if Nicky's bike last year didn't have clutch problems throughout the year, how many more podiums and victories might he have?
What if, in 2007, HRC, actually gave him what he was asking for instead of waiting until Catalunya to do that? Where would he be? What if Hayden's bike didn't chunk itself last weekend?
You see, your argument is weak because you're just asking a bunch of "what if's". All you need to know is Nicky had 252 points and SECOND place Rossi had 247.
Now, I understand it's your opinion that he's not worthy. And that's your opinion. But since your opinion is not based on fact, you're an idiot. Hayden is MOTOGP CHAMPIONSHIP MATERIAL because he was the 2006 MOTOGP CHAMPION. That's the fact.
So, in your logic, you would say that Alex Criville isn't championship material because he was champion once and only because Doohan's career ended?
You don't think Kenny Roberts, Jr. is championship material?
The great Kevin Schwantz? He only has 1 title. And he did it with only 4 victories.
You see, there's no point in criticizing riders who have already proved themselves to be champions by winning the championship. It just makes you sound like you could do better. There's not going to be another V.Rossi. And you know what, when the other manufacturers catch up and Michelin starts doing their job, you're going to see a HUGE reversal of fortunes for Casey Stoner. In fact, I think Dani Pedrosa fills in the boots that were made for him and he dominates next year.
Again, Hayden is a top 5 rider, up there with Rossi, Dani, Melandri and Stoner. You put anyone of those guys on a Ducati shod with Bridgestones and put Stoner on a Honda or a Yamaha, and it would look starkly different. You don't go from Crash King one year to WC the next unless some things are working hugely in your favor.
Touche on the Doohan and Schwantz references. How about Rainey? Or...how about Spencer? Can't forget KR (the winner). Or the late Barry Sheene. Quite a generation gap...
I completely agree that had Stoner did NOT have the current bike and factory support, he'd be slipping and sliding and crashing all over the place, as he did so reliably last season and seasons before.
Regarding Casey Stoner being champion this year, I think it would have been far more competitive in terms of points, had Rossi's machine and tires been more....competitive. Who knows what Pedrosa would have been able to do?
Hayden won the Championship in 2006, that's all done and over with. Like you said, it's my opinion that I don't see Hayden as being a full-fledged Champion, compared to his peers. It's too bad he's racing while Rossi is, because that's quite a shadow to come out of.
If we want to time travel and start racing the older 500ccs and what not, I'm not exactly sure how riders like Nicky, Casey, Dani would do. The older bikes were entirely different beasts. So, I'd like to keep the generations gaps.
The modern MotoGP racing class has a heavy emphasis on electronics.
How well these riders can adapt with (or vice/versa) their machines will determine who can perform, week in, week out. Of course rider skill is paramount, but that's given. This is MotoGP. The top class.
You seem to think, all because I don't think Nicky earned his championship, that I'm dumping on him. I'm certain if you asked Hayden if he would prefer to have done better in 2006, he would say "Hell Yes!"
That being said, I know the "Kid" can do better. I've seen him race like a bat out of hell in various GP races. In races, I know he'd dominate in, he's had some serious bad luck (e.g. thank you John Hopkins at Laguna Seca). In Australia, he was looking to kick Stoner's ass...but alas...more bad luck.
You're probably right, that there will not be another V. Rossi in the near future. In that regard, everyone has a chance at being a MotoGP champion. But in this day and age, with Rossi in the mix, and Stoner winning races, riders like Hayden really have to step it up.
Rossi battled all sorts of problems this season and still managed to stay in contention for the most part. Even if Rossi didn't crash, in races where he was close to Stoner (e.g. Shanghai) it was clear that the Ducati machine was superior and that Stoner really rode the hell out of the bike.
So yes, an argument can be made that if Stoner didn't have the Ducati, he wouldn't win, but what about Pramac riders, Loris Capirossi? They're riding Ducati's shod with Bridgestones. Why aren't they all in the top 5?
HOPEFULLY, next year's tire regulation rule will make more sense and the tires won't be so important. That way the racing can be brought back to the riders and machines and not rubber/compounds.
As for supposing that I can do better myself...I laugh at that notion. IF I could ever ride like ANY of these people, I would not be posting in forums. I'd be in riding heaven.
Between stating my observations and opinions, you're the initiator of insults. So I'm not sure what your problem is.
In any other sport, if you crowned someone a champion and lauded him/her for that achievement, amidst a career (context) of not-so-championship like performance, the person would be embarassed.
Granted Hayden made improvements through his MotoGP career, but in my eyes, with the kind of racing the current riders are racing, a champion needs to be on/near or over 300 points. Again, that's my opinion.
In any case, I intend to continue to enjoy the last two races in Sepang and Valencia and look forward to seeing some exciting racing.
It's quite obvious you're a huge fan of the sport, you race yourself, and you're also a big follower of Nicky Hayden. That's great! It's what the sport needs, and hopefully more Americans will embrace this sport as passionately as you.
With the Indy race next season, coupled with Laguna Seca, I really hope that MotoGP captures the attention of the American public. Riders like Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards, John Hopkins will have to shine and give the nation someone to root for. Out of those three right there, I would say Nicky will achieve more by the end of his career.